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French visit in collaboration with APPG highlights improvements in this vital relationship for UK

BGIPU, in collaboration with France APPG led by Rt Hon Stephen Crabb MP, welcomed a delegation from France for a day in Parliament on 15 November. The delegation consisted of six parliamentarians from the Franco-British friendship group: Alexandre Holroyd, President of the friendship group, David Amiel, Bertrand Bouyx, Céline Calvez, Mathilde Desjonquères and Estelle Youssouffa.

The visit began on Wednesday morning with a tour of the Palace of Westminster hosted by Lord Touhig and Lord Murphy. This was an opportunity to introduce the delegation to the functioning of the UK Parliament, as well as its history. The delegation then had a meeting with the Committee on European Affairs in the House of Lords, chaired by Lord Ricketts, former British ambassador to France. A key focus of their discussions has been energy policy and security. Both sides also agreed that relations between France and the UK had recently seen a marked improvement and they were both eager to discuss how to further increase the level of cooperation between the two countries.

After this meeting, the delegation had the opportunity to attend a lively session of the Prime Minister’s Question time. This led to many questions on the working practices of the House of Commons asked during the working lunch that was hosted by Baroness D’Souza in the IPU room. Over lunch, another important topic of conversation was the 2012 Olympic Games in London, which is of particular interest in the lead up to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

In the afternoon, the group met with Leo Docherty MP, Minister for Europe, to discuss several topics such as energy security, migration, and education. Following this meeting, the delegation had a guided tour of the FCDO’s historical building. They then headed to St Pancras International Station for a meeting with Eurostar. This was an opportunity to learn more about the company’s post COVID-19 strategy and to discover their new Smart Check technology. Eurostar also shared with the delegation their plans to adapt to the new border control Entry/Exit System (EES) which will be in place from January 2024.

BGIPU Secretariat